Electronics and Health

Electronics and Health

In the age of technology, we are constantly surrounded with electronic devices: computers, phones, tablets, TVs -- the list goes on. Many people nowadays spend more time looking at screens than any other activity. We use them to work, to relax, to play, and to learn. They are an integral part of everyday life, and we rack up thousands of hours using electronics.



Electronic devices have transformed our lives in many ways. They help us communicate and stay connected, give us access to information, and provide us with many comforts and efficiencies that we wouldn't want to go without. However, such a strong reliance on these devices raises questions about the potential impacts on human health. As an electronics supplier, we want to address some of the health concerns associated with excessive electronics usage, and how you can use your devices safely.


Light emission, sleep, and eye strain


Evolutionarily, our brains naturally expect to see light during the day and darkness at night. A high use of artificial lighting may interfere with this natural cycle. Intense lighting emitted from electronics, especially LEDs and blue light, can disrupt our circadian rhythm. This can lead to interruptions in sleep patterns or can worsen your quality of sleep.


Additionally, spending long periods of time viewing screens can cause eye strain for multiple reasons. One cause of eye strain is focusing at one point for extended periods of time. When we use computers and phones, we tend to keep our eyes focused at one standard distance for many hours. In this way, reading a book for too long can also cause eye strain. However, screens tend to be harsher on the eyes because of the fast moving images -- our eyes are pushed to take in a lot of information in a short amount of time, and after a while, this can be tiring. We also tend to blink less when we are looking at screens, which can reduce the amount of moisture in the eyes. Another factor that can cause eye strain has to do with light emission and contrast. Our eyes dilate according to the average amount of light in our visual field to control how much light enters the pupil. When we stare at a bright screen in a dark room, the pupil may allow too much light in, leading to strained eyes over time. On the contrary, looking at screens in a bright room often causes glare, which makes the images difficult to see and can also lead to eye strain.


Ways to prevent sleep disruption and eye strain:

  • Don't look at a screen before bed: It is recommended to spend at least one hour before going to sleep doing an activity that doesn't involve viewing a screen. Avoiding harsh blue light and being in a dim environment helps your brain prepare for sleep. Try a relaxing activity like taking a bath, reading a book, or doing some stretches as an alternative. This will improve your quality of sleep and may help you get to sleep faster.

  • Adjust your display settings: If you are experiencing discomfort, check out your device's display settings. Try to match the brightness setting to the environment around you to reduce contrast. Most devices have a night mode that will increase the screen's warmth and may be easier on the eyes.

  • Remove glare: If you're watching TV or using a computer during the day, make sure there isn't a glare on the screen. Close window shades to prevent sunlight from hitting the screen directly.

  • Use bias lighting: For watching TV in a dark room, try out a bias lighting unit. These are placed behind the TV to emit light that won't cause screen glare. This helps minimize the contrast between the screen and the surrounding environment to help your pupils dilate correctly and reduce eye strain.

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: If you spend many hours at a time looking at a screen, it's important to take breaks. This helps your eyes refocus and stay moisturized. As a general rule, for every 20 minutes of computer viewing, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. And if you have dry eyes, try eye drops.



Risk of electric shock


Electronic devices require cables, and handling cables and electric connections inherently comes with a risk of electric shock. As cables are used and bent, the outer insulation wears out, leaving bare wires exposed. It's probably not shocking that handling bare wires can shock you. They can also pose a fire risk depending on the location. So, it's important to handle your cables with care.


How to minimize fire and shock risk:

  • Buy high quality cables: The first thing you can do to reduce your risk of getting shocked is purchasing high quality cables. Yes, cable quality matters. Stronger cables will offer a more reliable signal, or faster charging, and won't wear out as quickly.

  • Be wary of how you use your cables: Excessive or frequent bending will certainly cause your cables to wear out faster, so treat them with care.

  • Organize cables at home: When it comes to your home entertainment system, keep your cables organized and properly stored so they are easy to manage and you can avoid an accidental loose cable in the mix. Check out our full guide to cable organization.



Posture and exercise


If you spend many hours a day seated looking at a computer or TV screen, it's important address posture and physical activity. When we look at a computer, we tend to slouch or look downwards. After long periods of time, this can have a negative impact on the spine and overall alignment. Staying in a hunched or tense position can be a strain on the core, neck, and back. Additionally, when we spend so much time using our devices, we tend to forget to get up and move around. Staying in stead positions for many hours a day and not doing any sort of physical activity can lead to serious health concerns like diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.


Ways to avoid posture and exercise issues:

  • Assess your body alignment at your workspace: If you spend many hours looking at the computer, make sure it's properly aligned so you don't have a tendency to slouch. The computer screen should be situated just below eye level so you can comfortably view it without hunching forward. Make sure your chair properly supports your back and can be adjusted to the correct height.

  • Get a standing desk or take standing breaks: If you sit for long periods of time during the day, take regular breaks (about every hour) to stand, stretch, or walk around. This avoids having tense muscles for many hours at a time and promotes proper bloodflow.

  • Exercise regularly: If you don't naturally lead an active lifestyle, regular exercise is extremely important. Find a workout routine you can stick with that works your muscles and tests your endurance at least 3 times a week.



Disposal of electronics


Finally, we must discuss electronics disposal. The use of electronic devices can have impacts on our health even after we are done using them. Electronics contain many different kinds of metals and chemicals that need to be disposed of properly. When we discard our old devices carelessly, toxic chemicals can end up leaking into the environment. This not only disrupts natural ecosystems, but chemicals can end up in our water systems as well, or polluting our air and food.


Check out our full guide to discarding your electronic devices. Here are a few quick tips on disposing of tech:

  • One man's trash is another man's treasure: Always try to sell your old electronics before throwing them away. This a great way to make some of your money back and be more eco-friendly.

  • Donate it: If you can't sell the device, try taking it to a donation center. This ensures that someone else will get some use out of the device before it is discarded.

  • Recycle: Take the device to the manufacturer. Many large manufacturers and tech companies like Apple and Best Buy offer recycling programs for old tech. Alternatively, find an electronics recycling center near you to take the rest of your devices.



We all love our tech, and we don't plan on stopping the use of electronic devices any time soon. So, keep these tips in mind and practice safe tech usage, for your health and for the planet's health!